After spending a significant time working from home, it’s only natural many people have mixed feelings about returning to work.
For some, working from home has been a struggle and going back to the office offers a much-needed change of scenery, allowing them to separate their work and home lives once again and work somewhere that they have access to essential office amenities, such as Brother printer ink cartridges and high-speed internet. Others are more apprehensive about transitioning back to office life.
As an employer, it’s crucial you do everything to create a safe working environment for your staff. If you’re wondering where to start, the following ideas for office upgrades and replacements can help.
- Improve Ventilation
In October 2020, it was discovered COVID-19 is not just spread through droplets but is airborne. This discovery forced people worldwide to alter how they protected themselves from the disease. While social distancing, mask wearing and handwashing remain as vital as ever, the importance of adequate ventilation became clear.
Ensuring your buildings have a suitable filtration system is one of the first steps you should take before welcoming staff back to the office. To help you achieve this, look to the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), a number between one and 16 that rates an air filter’s efficiency based on the size of the particles it filters out. The higher the MERV, the more efficient the filter, and it is recommended offices have MERV 13 air filters. If your current ventilation does not meet these standards, upgrading them may be one of your larger expenses; however, it’s crucial to protect your employees and build your business’s long-term success.
- Provide Cleaning Supplies and Hand Sanitizer
Given the long stretches of time workers spend at the office and how many high-contact areas there are, thorough cleaning of office spaces is always a priority. This has never been more true than since the outbreak of COVID-19, and as a society, we are more aware of the value of disinfecting areas we touch and sanitizing our hands.
Besides having all communal spaces deep-cleaned regularly, provide your employees with cleaning supplies so high-contact areas, such as light switches, door handles and printers, can be disinfected frequently. Stock up on antibacterial disinfectant wipes, sprays and surface cleaners and have them strategically placed around the office.
Although your employees are likely to carry hand sanitizer, you should also supply it at hand sanitizing stations around the office. Investing in motion sensor touch-free dispensers decreases the risk of spreading the virus.
- Install Motion Sensor Light Switches, Doors and Toilet Flushes
Reducing the number of contact areas can dramatically decrease the chances of spreading infection. Light switches, doors and toilet flushes are frequently touched, so upgrading to motion sensor facilities is a smart option. It can also make your office more accessible to disabled staff members or visiting members of the public.
This upgrade involves a significant financial investment and may be unrealistic for some companies. However, there are other, cheaper steps you can take to limiting the danger of high-contact areas, such as propping doors open with door stops or adding hand sanitizer dispensers to the inside of bathroom stalls.
- Make Face Masks Accessible
The laws about face mask wearing vary from state to state, but while your employees may not be obliged to wear a mask, they may want to in certain situations. Similarly to hand sanitizer, your staff is likely to have their own masks, but having a stock of them available in the office lets your team know their safety is your number one concern.
- Set Up Space-Dividing Screens
It has been established social distancing is hugely effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19. This will be primarily achieved in many offices by rearranging desks so they are six feet apart. However, installing clear screens around cubicles or desks can add further protection and serve as a visual reminder to everyone that social distancing is required.
- Switch to Antimicrobial Office Supplies
The outbreak of COVID-19 has made people more aware of the necessity of good hygiene practices. Besides regular cleaning, consider switching your office supplies to antimicrobial alternatives.
Antimicrobial technologies minimize the growth of bacteria, mold and fungi. Replacing office supplies, such as pens, folders and keyboards, with pre-treated items with an antimicrobial coating can help maintain the highest standards of hygiene.
7.Ensure Clear Communication and Signage
Many changes have characterized the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping on top of the shifting rules can be difficult. If your staff is confused about the guidelines they need to follow in the office, they will be more likely to make mistakes.
One of the best ways to ensure your employees are aware of the rules and restrictions is through effective signage. Clearly marking one-way walkways and other boundaries can help encourage social distancing. Displaying informative posters that explain the precautions that should be taken, such as cleaning recommendations and handwashing techniques, can significantly affect the safety of your workplace.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a wide range of materials that can be printed in color and displayed in your office. And when you order online from a printer cartridge supplier, you’ll never have to run out to the store last-minute to purchase more ink.
- Make Your Office More Ergonomic
After months of working from home, sitting on hard kitchen chairs and at dining room tables, the value of ergonomically designed office equipment is more acknowledged than ever.
While you’re upgrading your office in line with COVID-19 precautions, why not review how user-friendly your office equipment is, including chairs, desks, screen stands and keyboards? Consider switching to adjustable desks that can be used as both sitting and standing desks that encourage your staff to move more and help them avoid the health issues related to prolonged sitting.
For many employers, the responsibility of creating a safe working environment for your staff can feel overwhelming. However, many of the upgrades you can make to your office will make you and your employees more comfortable and are relatively simple to execute, such as producing clear signage and providing adequate cleaning supplies. By implementing as many of these precautions as you can, you’ll show your staff that their well-being is your top priority.